Starting July 1, Ward 6 will have a new representative on the Columbus City Council.
Republican Jacqueline DiCicco unseated incumbent councilman and Vice Mayor Bill Gavin in a landslide, 301-114, in the Republican primary. With no other candidates in the race, DiCicco will be unchallenged in the general election on June 8.
“I’m just overwhelmed with the numbers,” DiCicco told The Dispatch after the final votes were tallied at the Columbus Municipal Complex Tuesday night. “I am just overwhelmed, that’s all I can say.”
In a prepared statement, she thanked her supporters for their confidence in her.
“I have lots of homework to do to prepare,” she said. “I know there are many challenges, but with increased transparency and accountability, responsible money management, I know Columbus can be better.”
Gavin said he is disappointed in the race’s results, but said anyone who stays in office for a long time — Gavin has been on the council 12 years and would have been going into his fourth term if he’d won — will lose eventually.
“It’s a fact of life,” he said. “Well, of course I’m disappointed. I want to thank my wife and my family for sticking by me for 12 years, and thank the citizens of Ward 6 and the citizens of Columbus for … giving me 12 years of memories and 12 years of friends.”
Gavin said he thought he lost for several reasons — among them that he has been filling in for the absent Mayor Robert Smith while Smith recovers from a hospitalization in February and couldn’t campaign the way he planned — and said he wishes DiCicco well.
“I’m sure she will do a good job,” he said.
The Democratic primary for Ward 4 is undecided with a 91-90 margin and up to three affidavit ballots still to be counted.
Former Ward 4 Councilman Marty Turner leads Pat Fisher Douglas by just one vote. Per state law, the Registrar’s Office must wait five days after the election to consider any mail-in ballots that come in, in addition to the three affidavits, meaning the race will not be decided for at least five days.
“I am glad because everybody knows now that every vote counts,” Turner said. “They count. It’s about who the people want to represent them, so I don’t necessarily feel one way or another about the race. I want to see who the people actually want.”
He said he feels voters will elect the candidate who understands the citizens “are the boss” and will be accountable to them.
“This is democracy,” he said. “I can’t be mad if I win or lose.”
Douglas said she plans to challenge at least one of the absentee ballots because she believes there are some voters who cast ballots in Ward 4 without living there. She said she will go to the District Attorney’s Office and press charges there.
“God will put the right people in office that will do right,” she said.
The winner of the Ward 4 primary will face independent incumbent Pierre Beard Sr. in the general election.
In Ward 1, Democratic incumbent Ethel Taylor Stewart beat challenger Tommy Jackson 193-79. Stewart will face another independent challenger, Kallie Phillips, in the general election.
“I want to thank the voters in my ward, and all of the people that got out and kept me campaigning,” she said. “… I want to appreciate and thank everyone that helped.”
Jackson did not return multiple phone calls from The Dispatch by press time.